Native Watercraft Ultimate FX Propel 13 Review

     Unless you've been away at sea or living under a rock you're probably aware that Native Watercraft has revamped their kayak line for 2016.  The reintroduction of the Manta Ray is making waves due to it's low price point.  The original Ultimate has been put back on the market at the request of paddlers dedicated to the ownership of the kayak that really put Native Watercraft on the map.  For me however the most exciting news to come out of North Carolina is the introduction of a brand new kayak platform for the Propel drive system.  It's called the Ultimate FX Propel and recently, I got to see it in person.
     The Ultimate FX Propel is a boat that was designed from the ground up.  Although it's hull design and overall look are based on the Ultimate FX if you see them side by side it becomes apparent that you are looking at something totally new.  This new kayak needed to be more than an Ultimate FX with a pedal drive to function on the water.  So after lots of testing, retesting, and then testing some more, this is what you get.  Let's take a look at the spec sheet.

  • 13 foot 6 inches in total length
  • 32.5 inches wide
  • 13 inches deep
  • 79 pounds fitted hull (empty)
  • 98 pounds fully rigged (seat and propel installed)
  • 400 pound carrying capacity
  • Thwart Box, Hatch Cover, and First Class Seating stock
     These specifications make this boat a great addition to the line up.  It fills a void between the Ultimate FX 12 and the Slayer Propel 13.  It's definitely not a replacement for either of these models, more of a compliment to the best features of both.
     Taking a more in depth look at this boat tells a little bit more of the story.  A roomy sit in cockpit allows for a dry and stable ride.  This kayak doesn't have the high/low First Class seating that other boats in the FX line enjoy.  It is still a fully adjustable First Class seat, but with the inclusion of the pedal drive it has to be able to adjust fore and aft to accommodate different leg lengths.  The Ultimate FX Propel also features a roomy open front hull design that allows for ample storage.  You can see from the photo that you are able to store a full size paddle (broken down) in the cockpit. It also includes a water bottle holder conveniently molded into the cover on the Propel drive hatch.  Rudder control is left of the seat just like the Slayer so it feels intuitive and familiar when using.  The Ultimate FX Propel also features lots of mounting tracks in the front, sides, and back of the kayak to accommodate accessories from Ram Mounts or Yak Attack.  Of course all the Native Watercraft accessories you currently own will work with this kayak as well.
     A great new feature is the integrated transducer mount on the bottom of the kayak.  It allows your expensive transducer to be drawn up inside the hull to protect it from damage.  It even has a wire pass through and a molded battery box below the pedal drive.  This is the first kayak from Native Watercraft that seems to be purpose built for the angling enthusiast.  It even has a new hard sided thwart box that is included with the purchase of the kayak.  The thwart box is a stand alone tackle management system that utilizes the track system on the Ultimate Propel 13.  It has 2 rocket launcher style rod holders and could be used to store tackle, shoved full of ice and beverages, or add an aerator and it can keep the bait alive.  The thwart boxes slim design still makes it possible to carry a fishing crate when out on the water.  As I said before, it seems to have been laid out with the kayak angler in mind.
     As you can see from the photos this new kayak from Native Watercraft is a well thought out addition to the line up.  It definitely fills the gap between the Ultimate FX and the Slayer Propel series well.  You get a wonderful angling or even recreational platform for the money.  The Ultimate FX Propel 13 starts out around $2,700.00 depending on your dealer.  You can't really go wrong purchasing this kayak.  The real question now is which Propel model of kayak should you buy, the Slayer or the Ultimate?  I'll cover my thoughts on that question in a future post.
     Tight Lines.

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